4 New Ways to Teach Programming to Toddlers

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There are a few things we know for sure about toddlers. First, don’t let all the pooping and messy eating fool you, they’re really smart. They’re learning a ton of information every day, and remembering it, sometimes a little too well.

We know that the best period for new language acquisition is before age seven, and we know that when these kids are old enough to hit the work force, even more jobs will require them to know how to code. So why not make it easy on them by teaching them how to program during the time when (in theory) it’ll be the easiest to learn?

This is exactly the thinking that drives the many projects popping up all the time that aim to teach younger kids to think like a computer programmer. If your kids can pick this up early, there’s no limit to what they’ll be able to accomplish.

In past articles, we’ve talked about Scratch, Move the Turtle (based on the Logo learning language), Raspberry Pi, and robotics kits galore.

While we feel your toddler may very well be able to tackle the products we’ve already covered, we thought it would be fun to see what else is out there in the world of toddler programming.

Kodable

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Designed to teach kids how to code before they can even read, this app is designated for ages five and up but has been enjoyed by kids as young as three. As soon as your kid masters dragging and dropping on your iPad, they’re ready to start their first coding lesson with this cute, awesome app. It even has spots for five different profiles so different users can learn at their own pace.

My First Website and Cody the Coder Ebook

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Developed in Sweden as a response to the alarming lack of programmers entering the workforce, this eBook aims to teach kids as young as three (and as old as you and me) how to program their first website using HTML code. According to the writers, “My First Website will enable your child to effortlessly absorb crucial code that every child of this generation will go on to know.”

Code Monster

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Code Monster is a game where kids follow the fun, simple step-by-step directions to learn the fundamentals of coding. This one would work best with a parent helping kids through the steps, but remember that if you’re the one touching the keyboard,they’re not learning as well as they could be, so hands off!

Daisy the Dinosaur

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If your toddler can read, even with a little help, this drag and drop app is a great way to get kids thinking in code. Kids will learn objects, sequencing, loops and events as they program the dinosaur to dance across the screen.

Of course, there are other ways to get kids programming besides using downloadable software. Start them out with playing a game like Minecraft and push them toward creating mods for it as they grow older. If you’re familiar with programming, be creative with how you expose your kids to it and push them to experiment.

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